Oak Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church had its beginning in 1920, as a Sunday School class. A small group of committed Christians were faithfully dedicated to holding weekly meetings in the residence of Mrs. Cornelia Davis. Prior to Oak Grove becoming an official organism of African Methodism, it owed so much to the tandem guidance and leadership of Reverends B. E. Evans and V. L. Eckridge. Growth and development caused the assemblage to move to Lockport Public School for adequate housing, and under the leadership of Reverend Marshall Pearson, it became fully accepted into the Michigan Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The church’s original name, “St. Luke,” was changed at the request of the Conference because a church bearing the same name was already in existence. Thanks to the vision and the keen insight of Mrs. Martha Hughes, who took note that the church was located in an area distinguished by the splendor of many beautiful oak trees, it was not difficult to understand why she suggested the church be named “Oak Grove.”
It was in 1921 when the men of the church, with their own hands and labor of love, built the congregation’s first church home. Mr. Nelson Smoot, a member and master carpenter, designed the master plans for the new church. This small wooden structure was on the corner of Kentucky and Chippewa Streets. The building was known for its bell tower. The bell gave the clarion call to the faithful members to worship on Sunday mornings, and tolled when a member passed from labor to reward. In approximately 1926, the beloved bell in the tower came crashing down when the wooden church burned to the ground. It had tolled for the last time. Fortunately, the Women’s Club, under the presidency of Mrs. Cornelia Davis, had taken out fire insurance coverage on the church building, which provided funds to erect another facility. With the funds from the insurance policy, Mr. John Howard, a trustee, was instrumental in securing the down payment for a new Oak Grove. On August 26, 1928, the congregation laid the cornerstone for the second church structure, this time made of brick.
In the year 1959, the congregation of Oak Grove relocated to the corner of Cherrylawn and Pembroke, its present location. Shortly after in 1961, Reverend David E. Mitcham, was appointed pastor. During Reverend Mitcham’s tenure, the church broke ground for its present building. Construction began on March 5, 1967 and on April 17, 1968, the congregation worshiped for the first time in the new church.
During Reverend Mitcham’s pastorate, the congregation grew and the need to expand the facility in order to accommodate various church programs and more space for worship became evident.. On Sunday, August 2, 1987, the church broke ground for expanding the facilities.
On October 19, 1987, Reverend Gregory G. M. Ingram was appointed the ninth minister to “shepherd the flock.” Three months after Reverend Ingram arrived, the plans of the expansion program were enlarged to accommodate even more space for worship and to include expansion of the day care center. The church was successful in securing a bank loan which, at the end of the construction project, would exceed two million dollars.
In the year 2000, shortly after Dr. Gregory G.M. Ingram was elected Bishop, Dr. Robert Brumfield was appointed Pastor of Oak Grove. Under his leadership, the church continued to grow and prosper. In the year 2019, after nineteen years of prosperous leadership Dr. Brumfield was appointed Presiding Elder, at that time Bishop John Franklin White appointed the first female, Reverend Cindy Rudolph as Senior Pastor.
Oak Grove has truly been blessed by the ministry of twelve pastors between its inception and the present. They were: Rev. B. E. Evans (first pastor), Rev. V. L. Eckridge (second pastor), Rev. Marshall Pearson (1921-28), Rev. A.W. White (1928-30), Rev. Samuel C. Davis (1930-32), Rev. William Walker (1932-42), Rev. Robert A. Schley (1942-51), Rev. L.L. Lawrence (1951-53), Rev. James Dixon (1953-61), Rev. David E. Mitcham (1961-87), Rev. Gregory G.M. Ingram (1987-2000), Dr. Robert E. Brumfield (2000-2019), Rev. Cindy Rudolph (2019 - Current.)